In this case, the Oregon Workers' Compensation Board found that a claim involving a concussion must be reopened, because the evidence did not show that the injured worker was "medically stationary." An accepted on-the-job injury claim can be closed when the "attending physician" determines that the worker is medically stationary. The term "medically stationary" means that further medical care or the passage of time is not expected to significantly improve the injured worker's condition.
This case involved a concussion, and ongoing severe headaches. The first issue the Board tackled was whether not the physician who treated the concussion was in fact the "attending physician." This is important, because only the attending physician can find that an injured worker is medically stable, and that the claim is ready to be closed.
In this particular case, the attending physician did state that the worker was "medically stationary," but it was not clear from the report that the physician was referring to the accepted medical condition. The Board also reviewed the medical report as a whole, not just certain statements that the physician made, to determine if there was enough evidence to find the worker did need any more medical care.
When a workers' compensation carrier closes a claim, any right to curative medical care stops, and if the injured worker is receiving temporary total disability, that benefit stops as well. If you have a claim that has been recently closed, and do not know whether it makes sense to appeal the Notice of Closure, call us at 503-325-8600. We can help you review your claim and let you know where you stand.